1 slice sourdough bread
1 tablespoon milk
1/3-1/2 cup Panko crumbs
1 pound fresh ground beef
3/4 pound fresh ground pork
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
zest from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

  • Using your hands mix everything together until well blended.  Use only as much Panko crumbs as needed to keep mixture from being too “wet”.
  • Roll into 1 inch meatballs.
  • Cover and chill meatballs while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  • When ready bake meatballs for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven.

3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 small red onion, chopped
24 ounce can whole tomatoes
1 KNORR beef gel
3/4 cup moscato white wine
Juice from 1 lemon
5-6 cloves garlic, finely minced into a paste
3 tablespoons Classico sundried tomato pesto
1 teaspoon fresh ground Himalayan pink salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground red pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

  • Heat avocado oil in a large saute’ pan over medium high heat.
  • Add onions and garlic sauteeing until tender.
  • Whisk together the beef gel, wine, pesto and juice from the tomatoes.
  • Add seasonings, blending well.
  • Add tomatoes and gently crush.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours.
  • Add meatballs to sauce during the last 30 minutes.
  • Serve over pasta.
  • Top with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese.



GREEN CHILE BUFFALO WINGS adapted from a recipe at recipegoldmine.com
1 pound chicken wings and/or drumettes
1 can Old El Paso chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 cup Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce
1 cup Smucker’s Orange Marmalade or Apricot Pineapple Jam
1 cup King Arthur flour
1 stick Crisco
1 stick organic butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • Melt Crisco stick and butter together in a large skillet over a medium high heat.
  • Add flour to a gallon size ziploc bag.
  • Add chicken pieces and toss to coat.
  • Add chicken pieces to oil, but do not crowd.  
  • Salt and pepper generously and then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
  • Cook until wings begin to bleed before turning.
  • Season again and sprinkle remaining sugar.
  • Cook until browned all over.
  • Add jam, hot sauce and green chiles to small food processor, processing until smooth.
  • When chicken is completely browned, dip each piece into the sauce and then place on baking sheet.
  • Bake 15 minutes until heated through.

Can’t say for sure who, though I highly suspect grams started it, but mom used to put crushed potato chips on top of casseroles, tuna in particular.  I decided to taste test it on mac and cheese.  I put it up against homemade crushed garlic croutons – the croutons won.

16 ounces pasta, prepared per package
1/3 cup red onion, small dice
Himalayan Pink Salt
Fresh Ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons organic butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Face Rock Vampire Slayer Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup extra sharp Cheddar Cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter.
  • Add onion, cooking until translucent.
  • Add flour, stirring until golden.
  • Add cream and stir until smooth.
  • Add seasonings, stirring to blend.
  • Add cheeses, blending until smooth.
  • Toss with cooked pasta and pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Top with crumbled Garlic Croutons.
  • Bake 30 minutes until heated through.


I’m a BIG believer in buying local.  I also love when we move to a new area and there are so many new things to try.  My newest favorite is FACE ROCK CREAMERY cheese based out of Bandon, Oregon a quaint little seaside town that we visited not to long ago when our son and DIL were visiting.  I’ll add a few of those pictures after the recipe.  I tried a sample of FACE ROCK CREAMERY Jack cheese at Costco the other day and fell in love with their smooth and creamy cheese.  On a whim I bought their Vampire Slayer Garlic Cheddar and found a new favorite way to make an old comfort food on a cold and cloudy night.

Tonight because it is cold, foggy and miserable, I served it with left over Wagon Wheel Soup for a rib sticking good meal.

1 1/2 cups dried macaroni (elbows or shells)
3/4 cup heavy cream**
2 tablespoons butter
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 pound or 2 cups shredded FACE ROCK VAMPIRE SLAYER garlic cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350˚.
  • Prepare macaroni according to package directions. Drain well.
  • Using the same pan, melt butter and add cream until smooth.
  • Add cheese a few pieces at a time, stirring until well blended.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fold in pasta.
  • Pour into casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle with crispy onions or Garlic Croutons if desired.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until heated through and golden on top.

**I found I was out of heavy cream, but wait, there is a substitute using what you have on hand.
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup 2% milk
1 tablespoon Wondra flour (this can be omitted if using whole milk)

  • In a small saucepan, melt butter.
  • Whisk in Wondra until golden.
  • Add milk gradually, whisking until well blended and starts to thicken slightly.


Bacon, Meatball & Sun Dried Tomato Carbonara Lasagna

Where do you do your best thinking? For me I usually have my best ideas in the shower or the pool or while I’m driving or … – LOL it always seems to be someplace where paper and pen are NOT handy. I always tell myself I’ll remember, but then the errands and appointments take over and many times I forget for days on end if I remember at all.

Fortunately I remembered this one.  I will be making this one MANY times over! 

Note: A while back I started using Ronzoni oven ready lasagna noodles.  I love them. They turn out perfect EVERY time and you don’t have mess with noodles tearing or being hot and sticky!


1 pound ground chuck
1/2 sleeve saltine crackers
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 JUMBO egg
4 green onions, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

    • With your hands blend together all ingredients until well mixed.
    • Form 1/2 inch meatballs.
    • Brown meatballs over a medium heat until outsides are seared well.
  • Drain on paper towels.

15 ounces whole milk Ricotta cheese
1 JUMBO egg
1 teaspoon Italian herbs

  • Whisk together and set aside.

1 batch Alfredo sauce (recipe below)
3 tablespoons Classico Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

    • Prepare Alfredo sauce per recipe below.


    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Spread a nice layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
    • Add a layer of lasagna noodles.
    • Add a layer of ricotta filling.
    • Add meatballs in a single layer.
    • Top with the remaining ricotta filling.
    • Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top.
    • Add another layer of lasagna noodles.
  • Spread remaining sauce on top of noodles.
    • Sprinkle a nice layer of mozzarella cheese on top about 2 cups finely grated, cover and bake 35 minutes.
    • Remove lid and bake 10 more minutes until top is golden .
  • Let rest 5-10 minutes before cutting into.

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon minced garlic, jar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    • Melt butter in a saucepan.
    • Add garlic and saute until fragrant. 
    •  Gradually add heavy cream, stirring constantly. 
    • Stir in salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese and stir constantly until melted. 
  • Whisk in egg quickly and heat through.



6 cups cooked thin spaghetti noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Alfredo sauce (recipe below)
Italian Meatballs (recipe below)
Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce or your favorite red pasta sauce

  • Prepare your meatballs.
  • Prepare your red sauce.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the holes of a mini loaf pan.
  • Toss together the cooked spaghetti with the Alfredo sauce.
  • Fill each of the mini loaves with the pasta and press down on the top to pack in it, adding more as necessary.
  • Sprinkle the tops with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Put a little sauce in each bowl, add one of the baked spaghetti loaves, top with Italian meatballs and more marinara sauce.
  • Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and parsley.

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons crumbled bacon
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Melt butter in a saucepan.
  • Add garlic and saute until fragrant. 
  •  Gradually add heavy cream, stirring constantly. 
  • Stir in salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese and stir constantly until melted. 
  • Whisk in egg quickly and heat through.
  • Toss and serve immediately.


1 pound hamburger
1 pound ground pork
2 bunches green onions, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Panko crumbs or crushed saltines
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using your hands blend all the ingredients together.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll meatballs into golf ball size meatballs.
  • Bake for 30-45.
  • Bake how ever many you need today and freeze the others for future meals. Thaw in refrigerator before baking.

Ricotta Herbed Manicotti with homemade Bolognese Sauce

One of our favorites is Herbed Ricotta Cheese Manicotti with Bolognese sauce. Anyone who knows me knows when I make Bolognese, that I make it by the vat full and then freeze it in easy to use sizes. That step makes this a super easy dish to make.

16 ounces part skim Ricotta Cheese
4 ounces Manicotti shells (1 tray)
2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
2 servings of your favorite BOLOGNESE sauce or marinara sauce
4 ounces Italian blend* grated cheese

  • Prepare pasta according to directions. Rinse in cool water and set aside.
  • With a hand mixer whip the Ricotta Cheese and add seasoning until well blended.
  • Gently stuff the cooled shells and place in a baking dish.
  • Top with sauce and cheese.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Personally I like to bake these a day ahead of when I want to serve them and let the flavors meld together. I think they are better the next day.

Italian blend cheese ~ Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago, Parmesan


 ¾ pounds Penne pasta (I used linguini tonight)
1 pound chicken, cubed
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 small Vidalia Onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced  
½ cup White Zinfandel Wine*
1 8 ounce can Contadina tomato sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream  
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Asiago Parmesan cheese, grated

  • Cook the Penne pasta until al dente per package instructions.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil in a skillet. 
  • Add the chicken and saute until just done. Do not overcook them. 
  • Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  • In a large skillet heat the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and onion sauteing until translucent and fragrant, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add the wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the can of tomato sauce. Stir until well combined. 
  • Add heavy cream. Continue stirring until well blended. 
  • Lower heat to a simmer.
  • Add chicken pieces back in and heat through.
  • Toss with prepared pasta.
  • Top with basil, parsley and grate Parmesan cheese.

*Can substitute chicken broth if you prefer.


This week is for a great casserole that looks good for potlucks or company.
3/4 pound mini penne pasta or elbows
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic, jar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 large can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles, drained
basic sauce (see recipe below)
4 eggs + the white from the sauce recipe below
1 package frozen broccoli florets, chopped small
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare pasta according to the package directions.
  • Saute meat, onion and garlic.
  • Drain off fat.
  • Add tomatoes, broccoli and seasonings.
  • Heat through. Add cheese and set aside.
  • Set aside.
  • Prepare sauce (recipe below).
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the sauce and pasta until well blended.
  • Spray a spring form pan with PURE.
  • Put 1/2 of the pasta mix in the pan and form a ‘crust’ along the bottom and up the sides similar to what you would a cheesecake.
  • Top with the meat mixture.
  • Finish with the remaining past mix.
  • Bake covered with foil for 45 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.
  • Bake on a cookie sheet just in case!
  • Run a knife around the edge before removing the sides.

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon minced garlic, jar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

  • Melt butter in a saucepan.
  • Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  • Gradually add heavy cream, stirring constantly until thickens a bit.
  • Stir in salt, pepper and grated cheese and stir constantly until melted.
  • Whisk in egg quickly and heat through.


1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound linguini, cooked and drained well
4-6 cloves minced garlic
(2) 7 1/2 ounce cans minced clams, drained well, but retaining juice*
8 ounce bottle clam juice, added to the above juice to make 2 cups
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

  • Heat butter and oil together.
  • Add green onions and garlic cooking until golden and fragrant.
  • Add 2 cups clam juice* and simmer uncovered 10 minutes.
  • Add clams, parsley, salt and pepper. Heat through.
  • Toss with the linguini.
  • Serve with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese.

*If making plain parsley herb noodles substitute 1 1/2 cups chicken broth for clam juice.


1/2 pound bacon /Pancetta, cut into 1 inch pieces

4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons Classico sun dried tomato pesto
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small-medium onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, if necessary depending on bacon
1 teaspoon white pepper
3 tablespoons butter, melted
fresh parsley
1/2 pound spaghetti, linguine or pasta of your choice
  • Saute’ the bacon and brown until crisp.
  • At the same time bring the pasta water to a boil. Timing is crucial on this dish, the pasta must be ready when the rest of the ingredients are.
  • Chop the onion into small bits.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the grease and drain on paper towels.
  • Add the onions to the bacon grease and saute. Add the garlic.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove the onions and garlic and add to the bacon.
  • Pour off excess bacon grease.
  • Seriously scrape bottom of pan to loosen the stuck on bits – we NEED those for flavor. Make sure the pan cools slightly so as not to curdle the cream.
  • Add the sun dried tomato pesto and let heat to thin slightly.
  • Add the heavy cream, cooking until heated through and bubbling.
  • Add back in the bacon, onion and garlic. Lower heat. Simmer a few minutes to heat through and reduce liquid.
  • In a large serving bowl whisk the egg yolks together. Add the majority of the Parmesan cheese and Parsley, saving just enough for garnish. Mix it together well.
  • Add the drained HOT** pasta and mix well.
  • Add the butter, pepper and the bacon mixture. TOSS, TOSS and TOSS again until well mixed.
  • Garnish and Serve immediately.
**Pasta MUST be hot in order for this to coagulate well.

MEAT LASAGNA traditional

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano and basil
1 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles(I like the Barilla no cook)
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. 
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes (juice included) and tomato sauce. 
  • Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. 
  • Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water OR use no bake noodles.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  •  To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce.
  • Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. 
  • Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. 
  • Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. 
  • Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. 
  • Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. 
  • Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. 
  • Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

My mom got me this new lasgana pan from Chicago Metallic for Christmas and I have to say it is awesome.  Lasagna no longer is a mess to cut and each edge of cheese is crispy and just perfect!  Assembly is also a breeze with no overlapping. You can even make 3 different flavors at once.  I can’t wait to try it on some banana bread and meatloafs.


3 ounces bleu cheese crumbles
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup minced green onions
6 pork cube steaks
1/2 cup panko crumbs
2 tablespoons butter

  • In a small food processor blend together the mayonnaise, bleu cheese crumbles and green onions until smooth.
  • Coat steaks on both sides with mayonnaise mixture.
  • Dredge through panko crumbs.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add cube steaks and brown on both sides.

12 ounce package pasta
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce
3/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese
3 ounces bleu cheese crumbles
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain Well.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Add salt.
  • In a small food processor pulse bleu cheese crumbles until fine.  Set aside.
  • Add flour and whisk constantly over medium heat until smooth.
  • Gradually add milk, whisking constantly.  
  • Add hot sauce.  Bring to a slow boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in all cheeses, salt and pepper to taste until smooth.
  • Mix pasta and cheese mixture together until well blended.
  • Scoop into a casserole or ramekins.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes.
  • Top with chopped chives.